UN: Shelling putting Ghouta aid delivery at risk


Renewed shelling of Eastern Ghouta is putting a humanitarian aid convoy that entered the besieged rebel enclave on Friday at risk, the United Nations said.

The UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Ali al-Zaatari, said shelling near the enclave’s main town of Douma was in breach of “assurances of safety from parties including the Russian Federation.”

An aid convoy entered Syria’s battered Eastern Ghouta Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, after a previous delivery was cut short by bombardment of the rebel enclave.

“They are in,” ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky said of the 13 trucks loaded with 2,400 food parcels that had been waiting outside the enclave east of Damascus after the interruption of Monday’s delivery.

More than 930 civilians have been killed in Eastern Ghouta since Russia-backed regime forces launched an assault on the enclave outside the capital on February 18, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

But early Friday, the air strikes stopped briefly, with the enclave seeing its calmest night in more than a week, the Britain-based war monitor said.

The enclave’s 400,000 inhabitants have been living under government siege since 2013, with food and medicines in very short supply even before the latest assault.

The new convoy was carrying food that aid workers were unable to distribute on Monday. It had been due to enter on Thursday but was delayed.

“Today, they will deliver the remaining of the aid that wasn’t delivered during the previous convoy of March 5,” Sedky said.

“We also have some positive indications that a bigger convoy with additional supplies including medical items might happen next week,” she added.

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